If I had a penny for every time someone posed this question…well, I’d have a lot of pennies.
If you’re trying to time the market, stop! It simply isn’t going to happen. It’s impossible. Okay, maybe you’ll luck out. But chances are, you won’t. After all, the only way to know if we’ve hit bottom is when we see prices starting to go back up.
So, if you’re sitting on the fence debating when to jump off into whatever that scary stuff is on the other side, just remember, (1) it’s not that scary, and (2) wouldn’t you rather be on this side of the “curve” where you know the prices, know the interest rate (historically crazy low), and have the pick of the litter given the amount of inventory? It looks pretty appealing as compared to option No. 2, which is to be on the other side of the curve when it’s trending up, and who knows what interest rates will be doing and how many other buyers you’ll be competing with for the certainly fewer homes that will be on the market.
And if that doesn’t convince you, consider this little piece of real estate “food for thought”:
Interest rates today are roughly 3.875% versus the 6.25% they were at the 06/07 “height”. Figuring that every 1% decrease in interest rate is equivalent to a 10% increase in buying power, a buyer can afford approximately 24% more than they could just four years ago based on rates alone. Add to that the estimated drop in the market of 30%, and our purchasing power has never been stronger. Today we can buy 54% more home for the same monthly payment of four years ago.
Most people would say that 2011 wasn’t a great year for real estate. But the real question is, great for who? It can’t always be great for everyone, but inevitably is always great for someone. So maybe this past year wasn’t the most ideal for sellers, but if you bought in 2011, cheers to you. With historically low interest rates, lots of inventory to choose from, and competitive prices, 2011 was simply a great year to buy real estate.
No doubt 2012 will offer up much of the same for buyers, but interest rates and prices won’t remain this low forever. When deciding when the “right time to buy” is, remember that it’s impossible to time the market. After all, the only way we know that prices have hit bottom is when they start going back up. The same can be said for interest rates. Most buyers underestimate the effect that interest rates have on one’s buying power. It’s important to consider that for every 1% increase in interest rates, your buying power decreases by 10%. So don’t sit around waiting for that exact perfect time to buy when it could be now.